Mayweather's adviser, Leonard Ellerbe, announced last week the boxing legend would return to the ring on May 5 against the "little fella." Although he refused to name the "little fella," it was speculated by some in the media Mayweather and Pacquiao had finally gained some ground and that Mayweather had even made the first move by offering Pac a date - May 5. However, after further investigation, it appears Ellerbe was referring to Morales instead of Pacquiao.
Bob Arum says it's Erik Morales.
"You know who the little fella that they already approached? It's Erik Morales," Arum said even without being asked. "And Erik will confirm it – absolutely. Erik has been approached to make the fight. He'll take it for the money. I'm sure he'll take it for the money. Why wouldn't he?" asserted Arum?
"I don't know who's gonna buy it (Mayweather vs Morales). But that's the whole non-sense is all about," said Arum, who was apparently alluding the bout would be a mismatch.
But given Mayweather and Morales' popularity and the fight date, the fight will sell. It will not yield as much revenue as Mayweather vs Ortiz, but it will sell well because the appealing date offsets the mismatch as Arum later hinted, "They bull----ed the MGM to get the date, to get May 5. So they cut us out of getting May 5. But we don't need May 5 because we're not fighting a Spanish guy next. But they want May 5 because they're fighting Morales."
So is it true? According to Boxing Scene, the Mexican press reported Golden Boy Promotions head matchmaker Eric Gomez confirmed that Mayweather vs Morales was in the works. Gomez was quoted as saying, "We are in talks with Floyd Mayweather to match him with Morales. The problem is, it's very to hard get Floyd because he says one thing today and another thing tomorrow."
The proposed date, Cinco de Mayo, should have triggered strong hints that Mayweather was fighting someone who was Mexican or of Mexican heritage. Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "Fifth of May") is a holiday held on May 5. It is celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is observed as a celebration of Mexican heritage. Cindo de Mayo also commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.
So now it makes sense... Morales is Mexican. And its no coincidence Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya on May 5 (in 2007) as well because De La Hoya is an American of Mexican descent.
The date selection is intelligent as many in the U.S. and Mexico will be in a celebratory and prideful mood on May 5. What better way to culminate festivities that day than watch one of Mexico's greatest heroes fight boxing's brash, outspoken superstar who also happens to be a legend in his own right?
Erik Morales (52-7, 36 KO)
'El Terrible' is the current WBC Jr Welterweight champion and the last fighter to defeat Manny Pacquiao (2005). He previously won world titles at Super Bantamweight, Featherweight and Super Featherweight and has defeated 15 world champions during the course of his career. Morales is best known for his epic trilogies with fellow Mexican legend three-division champion Marco Antonio Barrera and current pound-for-pound leader Manny Pacquiao. A guaranteed Hall of Famer, he ranks #49 on ESPN's 50 Greatest Boxers Of All Time.
After defeating Pacquiao in 2005, Morales would lose four bouts in a row, including back-to-back knockouts to Manny Pacquiao in 2006. After his loss in 2007 to David Diaz, Morales retired. It was his fifth loss in six bouts.
Boxing legends seldom stay retired after their first stint away from the game and 'El Terrible' is no exception. In various interviews conducted in 2009, Morales began to state that he would fight again in late 2009 to early 2010, after he gave his body enough time to rest. Morales also stated that he would continue to fight as a Lightweight.
Since his comeback, Morales is 4-1, 2 KOs, including an epic stand against a young, tough Marcos Rene Maidana. Many boxing pundits felt that an aging Morales, fighting a couple of divisions above his best weight, stood little chance against the hard hitting Maidana. However, Morales turned back the clock and gave his best performance since handing Manny Pacquiao his most recent defeat over six years ago. In an exciting back-and-fourth fight, Maidana eked out a majority decision victory with scores of 114-114 and 116-112 twice.
After losing valiantly to Maidana, Morales defeated Pablo Cesar Cano, a previously unbeaten young upstart, to earn the WBC Jr Welterweight title on the undercard of Mayweather vs Ortiz, September 17. Slow and sluggish early on, Morales became more agile in the middle rounds and used his superior experience to wear down and eventually stop his more nimble opponent.
Mayweather vs Pacquiao?
A would-be big favorite against Morales, Mayweather is seeking this bout for an obvious reason - Its low-risk/high-reward, or in layman's terms an 'easy payday.' The gritty Morales is still a top-tier fighter but he doesn't have the tools to compete with Mayweather - especially at welterweight.
So will we ever see Pacquiao vs Mayweather? According to Bob Arum, we won't and Top Rank is no longer pursuing it.
"He (Mayweather) was on television last night. They say, 'Why don't you fight Pacquiao?' And he says, 'Take the test, take the test.' What the f-k is he talking about?" Arum asked.
He said doping will no longer be an issue, just in case something new comes up regarding Pacquiao vs Mayweather, because there are so many ways to resolve it.
"Everybody knows that's not an issue anymore. He will not fight Manny Pacquiao. And who cares. There are some better guys out there for Manny to fight," Arum continued.
"Manny has got enough to worry about. This guy (Marquez) is not gonna be easy," Arum said.
When the right time comes, and that could be right after the Marquez fight, Arum will lay the cards on the table for Pacquiao to see.
"I'll point to Manny what's out there and what's available and Manny will let me know who he prefers. We discuss these things like adults. I don't tell him to fight this guy I would never ever think of doing it.
Sources: Wikipedia 1, 2; PhilStar, Univision Desportes